Posted Mon May 2nd by Monty
What the Know-It-Alls are saying now that the dust from the 2011 Denver Broncos draft has settled. Stay tuned for BT’s own 2011 Broncos draft grades segment kicking off later today.
Best pick: Second-round pick Rahim Moore is a safety with range. That’s the kind you need in this modern NFL filled with passing.
Questionable move: Passing on Marcell Dareus to take Von Miller is questionable with their big hole inside on their defense.
Third-day gem: Fourth-round pick Julius Thomas is a tight end who is a former basketball player. That means he has the athletic ability to get down the field.
Analysis: John Elway’s first draft was solid. He made moves to fix a defense that needed it badly. If first-round pick Von Miller is an explosive pass rusher, this will be a nice draft.
Let me make something clear – Von Miller can play in the 4-3. I never said he can’t. What I did say was that his pass-rushing talents (his best attribute) would be wasted in the 4-3. In Denver’s scheme, Miller can only rush on third down and second-and-long. He’s going to have to learn how to play SAM otherwise.
Now, this is all well and good if the Broncos could stop the run and force the opposition into obvious passing downs. But they couldn’t last year, and they certainly won’t be able to in 2011. Where are the defensive tackles? As my friend Hunter Ansley of DraftZoo.com joked on Twitter (@draftzoo), “Denver is going to look odd when they roll out a 2-5-4 defense that doesn’t utilize any defensive tackles.”
Having said all that, Denver’s 2011 NFL Draft was not a disaster. John Elway was able to acquire some talented prospects, including Miller, Rahim Moore and Quinton Carter. I also liked the two late selections, Virgil Green and Jeremy Beal, both of whom were projected to go much earlier than the seventh round.
What I liked: The Broncos gave up more points than any team in the NFL last year and capitalized on that in way the Cowboys should have: Aggressively grabbing defenders. It started with No. 2 pick, Von Miller, a pass-rush specialist OLB. It was a perfect needs-based selection: Denver was No. 29 last year on our Defensive Hog Index and dead-last league wide at pressuring the quarterback, forcing a Negative Pass Play on just 6.3 percent of dropbacks — half the rate of the best pass-rush team in football last year, the Super Bowl champ packers (12.2%). Second-round pick Rahim Moore was the top-rated safety on most boards, and the Broncos landed him with the No. 45 pick. He could start right away.
What I didn’t like: Liked it all.
John Elway’s first draft has the potential to be a great one that addressed all the team’s most glaring needs.
Had the Denver Broncos not been lacking defensive tackles on their roster and their draft class, their efforts over the three days of the 2011 Draft would rank higher. The addition of pass rusher Von Miller — an immediate candidate for Defensive Rookie of the Year honors — certainly boosts their grade. So does the fact the Broncos were able land UCLA free safety Rahim Moore in the in the second round. Moore, the top-rated free safety by NFLDraftScout.com, should be aided by the assistance of veteran Brian Dawkins. The Broncos could see an immediate impact from big, burly offensive lineman Orlando Franklin, their third-round choice. Of the Broncos’ late-round selections, Portland State tight end Julius Thomas is the most intriguing. Thomas is the latest former basketball player to attempt the conversion to the gridiron.
Analysis: While Miller is a great player, he would be better off at defensive end rather than outside linebacker. Most personnel evaluators believe he would be a better fit for a 3-4 defense than Denver’s 4-3.